Redskins’ Trademark Canceled By Patent Office

| June 18, 2014 | 0 Comments

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has canceled the trademark on the Washington Redskins’ team name. The office canceled the patent on the grounds that it is “disparaging to Native Americans”. This is the latest development in the ongoing controversy surrounding the Redskins’ name.

50 U.S. Senators have already stood up and stated that the Redskins’ name should be eliminated and changed. However, it was in 2006 where a case was brought against the NFL by five Native Americans from four tribes.

Since then, the Redskins’ name controversy story has been at the forefront of the moral and ethical aspects of sports.

On Wednesday, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board issued a 2-1 ruling determining only whether the trademark was offensive to the people it referenced, not the entire U.S. population.

This ruling, however, does not require owner Daniel Snyder or the NFL to change the team name.

The trademarks registered by the Redskins’ franchise between 1967 and 1990 will no longer be protected by federal law but this is contingent on whether the Redskins and the NFL win or lose an appeal to the U.S. District Court.

The Redskins’ trademark attorney Bob Raskopf announced the team plans on appealing Wednesday’s ruling and is confident that the U.S. District Court will overturn the ruling.

The franchise has previously had its trademarks canceled following pressure from Native American groups in 1999. That decision however was overturned on a technicality after the court came to a decision that the plaintiffs should have filed a complaint to federal courts soon after the Redskins registered their trademarks.

If the decision does hold up after appeal from the NFL and Redskins’ team personnel, this decision could have major marketing implications for the Skins’ such as merchandise sales.

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